The multilingual Big Blue machine

According to studies by IDC, the Internet is slowly but surely turning into a truly multilingual environment and, if there was ever any debate, Big Blue’s move to enter the world of machine translation should remove all doubt.

IBM Corp. has recently announced the availability of the IBM WebSphere Translation Server, designed to help remove some of the linguistic barriers associated with international, multilingual e-commerce. The server supports bi-directional text translation between English and French, German, Spanish and Italian, and uni-directional translation from English to Chinese Mandarin (simplified and traditional), Japanese and Korean.

“This is essentially IBM admitting that the nature of e-commerce and the Internet is essentially becoming more and more multilingual,” said Steve McClure, a research vice-president in IDC’s software research group in Framingham, Mass.

McClure sees the move as a smart one. “This business about English as the language of international commerce, that is kind of na